Information Ministry backs neo-Nazi interview on state TV
Ihar Kazmiarchak, an opposition activist in Orsha, has received a reply to his letter to the Ministry of Information, where he requested to assess the actions of responsible persons who aired an interview with Maksim Martsinkevich, a known supporter of neo-Nazism, on the government-owned STV channel. The letter signed by Deputy Minister suggests that the TV channel only presented “different views”.
The show provides different perspectives on the problem of sin and lynching, and the position of Maksim Martsinkevich is represented as one of them,” says Deputy Minister of Information Siarhei Khilman.
In his letter to the Ministry, Ihar Kazmiarchak emphasized that the show “We Never Dreamed Of It. Born In Faith. Episode 2” a citizen of the Russian Federation Maksim Martsinkevich, also known as Tesak (“Hatchet”) among neo-Nazis, was featured as an expert, “the leader of a social movement”. It is known that he was the creator of several non-governmental organizations, whose activities were banned by Russian courts as groups of fascist ideology. Martsinkevich was three times sentenced to different punishments for inciting ethnic hatred, and at the time of the broadcast, December 3, he was serving a sentence in penal colony.
The Orsha activist says that Martsinkevich is shown twice during the documentary. He could be seen wearing a T-shirt with the logo of White Rex, a manufacturer specializing in clothing for neo-Nazis, including T-shirts with swastikas.
But Siarhei Khilman writes that “the inscription on the T-shirt does not feature prohibited symbols”, that the show did not incite violence, propaganda of Nazi symbols and fascism. Accordingly, Deputy Minister saw no violations of the Law “On Mass Media”.
According to Ihar Kazmiarchak, TV should not let leaders of neo-Nazi movements appear as experts or figures of authority, as it is an indirect propaganda of their ideas, which can lead to the destabilization of inter-ethnic ties in the country. Not to mention the fact that the demonstration of such opinions offends the older generation that remembers the last war against fascism.
The activist is not satisfied with the answer from the Ministry of Information, especially because it came too late: Ihar Kazmiarchak was waiting for it for over a month.